4 top tips for employers looking to attract and retain top talent

The war for top talent has reached fever pitch… the issue, when it comes to recruiting, is that the vast majority of these potential employees are already employed. Often by your competition.

So as an employer, what can be done to not only attract these hard-to-find employees to your cause, but to keep them there? We’ve detailed our four top tips:

1. Be clear about what you offer

As our Ops Director recently wrote on LinkedIn, being transparent is a key way to generate employee buy-in. When targeting a passive employment market – many of whom are already happy in their roles – different strategies are required.

Employers first need to look at their job descriptions. Salaries described as ‘competitive’, to be blunt, can be off-putting. Many see it as synonymous with ‘as little as we can get away with paying’, despite employers actually offering a good remuneration package.

Tell candidates what it is you actually do. Share your company vision with them and paint a picture of how this potential candidate can be a part of it. There’s nothing worse for a top-tier employee than reading a job description about a ‘market leading’ company with ‘strong corporate culture’. In today’s saturated market, it means nothing. Employers not only need to be clear about what they offer but need to actually demonstrate it.

2. Create a talent pipeline

Top talent has to start somewhere. If you, as a business leader, can identify top performers early in their careers, bring them on board with your company, and help mentor them through the industry, then loyalty will have been truly earned.

Get in touch with your local colleges and universities – visit jobs fairs. There are a huge range of options available for the discerning employer… options that too few businesses are taking advantage of. It’s a myth that top talent falls into the jobs market fully formed – top performers are built, not grown.

3. Offer flexible interviews

It’s no secret that we’re in the midst of a skills shortage. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t always mean the talent isn’t out there… in many cases it’s because the best talent has already been placed elsewhere. With your competitors.

With such high levels of employment in the UK, particularly within niche sectors, employers are having to become more flexible with how they actually interview the people they want on their team.

The best employees are, by definition, unable to meet for an interview at 3pm on a Tuesday – no matter how well it fits in with your schedule. Instead, arrange for an initial discussion via Skype after the usual 9-5 finishes. Arrange for interviews during lunch hours, or perhaps even after work.

4. Be prepared to pay for it

Looking for the best deal is a part of business – no-one would reach the top of their field without getting the most for their investment. When it comes to hiring, however, investment talks. It doesn’t have to be strictly monetary – it can include training budgets, flexible working hours and a host of other additions.

Many employers are, possibly as a remnant of the last financial crisis, still looking for champagne candidates on a lemonade budget. If employers aren’t prepared to make a comparable offer for these top tier candidates, they’re going to be at a strong disadvantage compared to the competition. Introducing long-term incentives for employees is one of the most effective strategies for even longer-term retention.

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